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Since the past few weeks, a lot of dust is being raised over the country’s failure to conduct free and fair elections. It began with the reported controversial confession of the former Deputy Senate president, Senator Ibrahim Mantu that he rigged elections for the then ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The confession indicated that Senator Mantu collected huge sum of money from former President Olusegun Obasanjo in order to rig for the PDP. After Mantu’s confession, other persons have confirmed their involvement in such electoral crimes.

Several reactions have been trailing this unsavory trending criminal confessions. The presidency and the ruling party, as well as PDP leaders and stalwarts have been locking horns in shameful acts of debate and counter debate on which party rigged best in previous elections.

Of course, we found the contribution of Dr. Do yin Okupe, the former aide to the former President Goodluck Jonathan very interesting and outstanding. Reacting to this issue, Dr. Okupe said that no party in this country is exempted as far as electoral rigging is concerned. He concluded that it is a generic national curse.

The rigging, according to Dr. Okupe, “is all-encompassing and involves all political parties from Action Group, NCNC, NPC to NRC, SDP, PDP, AD, ACN, CPC AND APC. If anyone says anything to the contrary, such persons are wilfully perjured individuals and the true enemies of progress in Nigeria. Mantu spoke as a true patriot who desires true and genuine change.

“How can anybody claim that only PDP rigs elections in Nigeria? Hide quoted text. Parties in Nigeria rig both intra and interparty elections from wards through local governments all the way to National elections from time immemorial. Are we not witnesses to the undeniable fact that in all state elections, no matter how civilized, innocuous or God-fearing the state governors pretend to be, all state elections, No matter the political party involved, are won by the ruling party in the state 100%.

“For a truth, it is only in the South-west and a few other zones that a modicum resemblance to an election actually do take place. In most other parts of the country, nothing like elections take place, or better still the charade of people lining up and casting their votes is just a mere ritual that has nothing to do with the results announced. It is in our overall interest that we take what Mantu said seriously and for posterity sake, let us sit down and plan how to conduct proper free and fair elections in our country. Democracy is mocked if people have the right to vote but their votes do not count”, he said.

While we do not agree with Dr. Okupe that Mantu is a patriot – he (Mantu) has to validate that lofty attribute by surrendering himself to the appropriate authorities for prosecution – we underscore his core arguments. Our’s is, indeed, a baffling country. Where in any civilised country do you find such open confessions to electoral crimes go without any arrest, prosecution and subsequent punishment if he is found guilty? Even the 2015 prosecution of electoral offences which involved some INEC staff came off as window dressing. The real substance was not addressed. Where are the colluding Police/military personnel despatched to maintain peace and security during elections? What about the politicians who recruit thugs, arm them to rig, disrupt voting process and maim voters during polls? When has any compromised lawyer, journalist and Non-governmental organisation been dealt with according to law?

As we approach 2019 elections, it is imperative to address this all-important issue right now. If there is one area President Muhammadu Buhari-led government should show commitment to democratic consolidation for Nigeria through free and fair election, it is this very point.

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This post was syndicated from Nigerian Pilot News. Click here to read the full text on the original website.


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